Five years ago, Pope Francis signed an encyclical which represented a major step forward in the Church’s Social Doctrine and is a road map for building more just societies that are capable of safeguarding human life and all Creation. The encyclical Laudato Si’ : On Care for Our Common Home, had its 5th Anniversary May 24th.
The document seeks to “call attention to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.” On this year’s anniversary, Pope Francis has invited everyone to take part in the Laudato Si’ Year (May 24, 2020, to May 24, 2021) by caring for our common home and our most vulnerable brothers and sisters.”
Laudato si’ Week – and the year dedicated to the encyclical – represent a way to promote initiatives, ideas, experiences, and good practices. These various initiatives help bring out what the document has set in motion in communities throughout the world. They also help us reflect on its relevance in the here-and-now.
One of the merits of the extensive papal text, which starts from the fundamentals of the relationship between creatures and the Creator, is that it has made us understand that everything is connected. There is no environmental issue that can be separated from social issues, climate change, migration, war, poverty, and underdevelopment. These are manifestations of a single crisis which, before being ecological, is, at its heart, an ethical, cultural and spiritual crisis. This is a deeply realistic view.
For this reason, the Pope writes, “The time has come to pay renewed attention to reality and the limits it imposes; this in turn is the condition for a more sound and fruitful development of individuals and society” (LS 116). The crisis that we are experiencing because of the pandemic has made all this even more evident. “We did not listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet.”
Thus, He encourages everyone to pray a new prayer dedicated to the Laudato si’ Year:
Creator of Heaven, Earth, and all therein contained.
Open our minds and touch our hearts,
so that we can be part of Creation, your gift.
Be present to those in need in these difficult times,
especially the poorest and most vulnerable.
Help us to show creative solidarity
as we confront the consequences of the global pandemic.
Make us courageous in embracing
the changes required to seek the common good.
Now more than ever, may we all feel interconnected and interdependent.
Enable us to succeed in listening and responding
to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.
May their current sufferings become the birth-pangs
of a more fraternal and sustainable world.
We pray through Christ our Lord,
under the loving gaze of Mary, Help of Christians,